Many years ago, more than I care to admit, the family was on vacation. Our destination – The Grand Canyon. I so wanted to see it. I kept watching the road signs and tried to calculate how long it would be before we would be there.
From the front seat my Dad smiled and said, “You sure are enjoying the Grand Canyon.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You always enjoy something the most just before you get it.”
I didn’t understand at the time, I just wanted to get to the Grand Canyon. I wanted to see it, how could I enjoy it when I had never even been there?
As usual Dad is right.
Now, I have been counting down the days until The Hobbit comes out. I’ve even called my friend in another state and left a VM on his phone, “David, only ten days!” and hung up. He knows it is me, and he knows exactly what I’m talking about. Again, more years than either one of us will admit to (before the advent of the VCR) we recorded the cartoon version of The Hobbit with a cassette tape. So yes, we are both looking forward to seeing Peter Jackson’s film version.
My children went to the bookstores at midnight to purchase the latest Harry Potter books, then sat up half the night reading.
Why all the hype? What makes all this so special?
PR works to get everyone wanting to be the first in line. (I had tickets number two and three for Return of the Jedi.)
So, The Dark Knight Rises, Star Wars, The Hobbit, Harry Potter all have huge followings, and folks are willing to lose sleep to see/read them.
So my writing friends, the same thing works inside your stories as well. Build the anticipation. Let the reader know what is going to happen, but make the ride full of anticipation, and then give them the satisfying ending. The end of the story is the ultimate goal, but the ride must be full of promises. The secret is not to break any of those promises, you must deliver. That makes the end so great. That is the oxymoronic deal. The End, great read, but it is over. No more anticipation. But the time spent reading was well worth it.
I still remember my first look into the Grand Canyon, but the ride and the conversation made that look even more memorable.